Tuesday, February 22, 2005

What Do The Sox Know That We Don't?

I dunno, but Peter Gammons says the Sox think they're smarter than Jim Bowden. (Feel free to insert your own punchline in the comments.)
The Red Sox are thrilled the Nationals got the opportunity to acquire Alex Escobar -- always a Jim Bowden favorite, one he thought he had acquired for Barry Larkin back in 2000 only to have Larkin nix the deal. To make roster room for Escobar, the Nats had to let go of 22-year-old middle infielder Alejandro Machado, who between Class A and Double-A last season had an on-base percentage of .385, batted over .300 and had tremendous defensive numbers. "He reminds me of all the great Venezuelan infielders," Red Sox scout Craig Shipley said

When the Nationals signed him a few weeks ago, this is what I said:
Machado can't slug his way out of the cliched wet paper bag. He's tried A-ball four times and AA-ball three times. Unless he finds his Wonder Boy, it ain't gonna happen.

While I was probably a bit harsh, I still don't see it. His advantage, I guess, is his youth. He's just 22. He spent 1999 and 2000 in Rookie ball, then progressed to Single-A in 2001, where he stayed through the 2002 season. In 2003, they bumped him up to AA. Last year, he played 93 games at AA and repeated 46 games back in A-ball.

The numbers he's put up have been decent, though nothing about them screams superstar.
AAA: .272/ .353/ .344
AA: .299/ .377/ .357

In those two levels, he's only hit 52 doubles in 473 career games, and doubles are typically a sign of future power potential. But, on the positive side, he's shown decent plate discipline.

Baseball America's garden-variety scouting report concludes the same thing.
He doesn't have much power at the plate, but he's a switch-hitter who has produced for average in the minors, draws walks, bunts well and uses the whole field. He's an average runner with good instincts on the bases. He plays a very smooth second base, making just four errors in 85 games there last year, and has the range and just enough arm to play shortstop.

I suppose it's possible that he'll develop into something useful, but it's not like the Nationals gave up the next Alex Rodriguez. (Wow. I just looked up ARod's minor league numbers: .340/ .393/ .624 at AAA)

There is a completely different point to be made and is probably a valid criticsm to be made. Machado isn't a completely useless entity and the Nationals gave him up for nothing--cause I'm pretty sure the Sox aren't going to give up anything of value as the PTBNL. With the sorry state of the franchise's minor league system, Machado is the kind of player they should be acquiring, not freely giving up.


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